The Death of Luxury has been Greatly Exaggerated (with photos)
All during these difficult economic times you have repeatedly heard the battle cry that luxury is dead. It never quite dies, except that it does slow down along with everything else when all is not well with the economy - but not so much.
It's worth keeping in perspective that luxury is always down less than midlevel markets where, due to lower income levels, the pain tends to be more acute.
That luxury is alive along with its customer base was once again born out by those companies who previewed new products last week and continue to produce luxury bedding and bath products for their loyal constituency.
The three collections I previewed - Sferra, Matouk and Yves Delorme - show no signs of retreating from their well-established luxury platform.
Yves Delorme, in particular, pulled out all the stops with the introduction of five new beds, each a distinctive design statement.
Perhaps the most surprising was pattern. Silhouette, a pink and black ensemble, is very Parisian in influence with a black and white graphic top-of-the bed floral combined with pink sheets striped in a tiny black herringbone. The herringbone was picked up enlarged on coordinated towels with a woven black rickrack edge.
Black, incidentally, is emerging as an important accent in the category as in a black quilt shown as part of this ensemble.
Fuschia, too, we thought we had forgotten not so long ago made a strong comeback at this company as the key to not just one but two patterns. Rubino maximizes the color's intensity as a near solid. The other, pairs an Indienne Floral and stripe with the same solid fuchsia.
Purple, likewise isn't giving up, sometimes shown together with a dusted rose pink.
Pattern Italics is an all-white bed accented with bold graphic tape applied swirls in Baltic blue, a heathered and grayed hue. Calligraphy is a sumptuous all-over damask rendered in the same Baltic blue, its luster turning the color silvered.
Yves Delorme like other European luxury bedding sources seem to understand that the bath usually located next to the bedroom and benefits from coordinated bath towels. American bedding lines have yet to make this connection.
Matouk celebrates luxury with simplicity but especially high-quality fabrications like 600-count Egyptian percale woven in Italy with exceptional details, such as sewn triple banded borders in contrasting colors on the crisp percale of pattern Allegro and an organdy and sateen tape border in pristine White on pattern Camille.
Black by the way, or near a near-black charcoal also appears at Matouk in the banded borders of Allegro and solid charcoal sheets and pillows shams for dramatic effect.
With suggested prices of $498 for a full/queen flat sheet and a same size duvet at $1,000 you are indeed in luxury territory.
Sferra at similar price points, takes full advantage of its signature expertise, jacquards woven in Italy by master artisans, keepers of a historical craft tradition.
Avery, an undulating vine and roses design, is offered in a richly luxuriant persimmon rendered in 540-count 100% Egyptian sateen.
Cora is a painterly floral with intricate background texture within the subtle sheen of this jacquard woven of 100% Egyptian cotton sateen of 600-count in two colors: peacock and steel.
With three of the strongest sources for luxury home textiles - and Ann Gish in the wings - my sense is that luxury is alive and well - for those who can afford it.